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The Telehealth Divide: Disparities in Searching Public Health Information Online

This article explores e government inequalities to searching Medicare and Medicaid information online. Telehealth, a branch of e government, can bring public health service and insurance information to the citizen. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, among others, has critical information for potential beneficiaries and recipients of services.

Using Pew survey data and multivariate regression analysis we find people in most need of Medicare and Medicaid information online (the elderly and poor) are accessing it, and people with years of online experience are strong proponents of online searches. Despite being less likely to have broadband services, individuals in rural areas were not found to be less likely to search for information online.

In conclusion, some disparities are narrowing as the elderly and poor in need of access to public health insurance are searching for it online. However, people without Internet access and experience (perhaps the oldest and poorest) remain disadvantaged with respect to accessing critical information that can link them to needed health care services.

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